Home > Artist Database > Bio-bibliographic Database > SIPPRELL, Clara Estelle

Artist Database

SIPPRELL, Clara Estelle

Tillsonburg, Ontario, 1885
Manchester, Vermont, 1975
Biography synopsis
In 1895 Sipprell moved to Buffalo, New York, where she was introduced to photography in the portrait studio of her brother Francis James Sipprell. While working as a studio assistant, Sipprell learned the technical and aesthetic aspects of photography and eventually became a partner in business. Early in her career Sipprell experimented with a number of photographic processes, photographing the landscape around Buffalo in bromoil, gum, carbon, platinum prints and autochrome color prints. Although not a member, Sipprell exhibited numerous works with the Buffalo Camera Club between 1910 and 1913 and was awarded a number of prizes. It was here that she attracted the attention of influential art and photography critic Sadakichi Hartmann. In 1915, Sipprell moved to New York City where she opened her own photographic studio in Greenwich Village and worked as a contract photographer for the Ethical Culture School. Sipprell was a renowned portraitist, photographing some of the most famous icons of her time including Alfred Stieglitz, Robert Frost and Eleanor Roosevelt. Sipprell is known as one of the foremost American pictorial photographers, capturing the land in dreamlike images. She also applied this aesthetic approach to her portraits and still lifes. In 1937 Sipprell moved to Manchester, Vermont, where she continued to work and exhibit until her death in 1975.
Media used
File & Archive locations
Syracuse University Library, NY
Amon Carter Museum, TX
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Canadian Centre for Architecture, QC - Library
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Museum of Modern Art, NY
Smithsonian Institution, DC - Archives of American Art
University of Pennsylvania Library
Yale University Library, CT
Thetford Historical Society, VT
Vermont Historical Society
Brooklyn Museum, NY
University of Arizona - Center for Creative Photography

Writings about
"Clara E. Sipprell, Photographer, 89: Portrait Maker, Known for Studies of Famous, Dead." New York Times 18 Apr. 1975: 35.
"The Bookshelf: Four Varied Examples of the Camera's Art." Wall Street Journal 13 Dec. 1966: 18.
Abbott, Louise. "Top Photographer of the 1920s is rediscovered." Gazette (Montreal) 18 Oct. 1980.
Appelhof, Ruth Ann. "Clara Sipprell: American Photographer In Memoriam." The Courier 12.4 (1975): 29-32.
Arnall, January Parkos. "Adventures into Camera-land;" Women, Image-making, and the Social Environment of Chicago Camera Clubs at the turn-of-the-century. Claremont, California: Claremont Graduate University, 2009.
Bannon, Anthony. The Photo-Pictorialists of Buffalo Buffalo, New York: Media Study, 1981.
Deschin, Jacob. "Photography: Pictures Recall an Era." New York Times 25 Dec. 1966: 31.
Foresta, Merry. American Photographs: The First Century from the Isaacs Collection in the National Museum of American Art. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.
Gamper, Gisela. "Clara Sipprell, Photographer, 1885-1975." Vermont History News 1988. 39.2: 20-22.
Garner, Gretchen. Reclaiming Paradise: American Women Photograph the Land. Duluth, Minnesota: Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, 1987.
Gaston, Diana. "Picturing Domestic Space: Clara E. Sipprell and the American Arts and Crafts Movement." Image 38 (Fall/Winter 1995): 16-29.
Kennedy, Mary. Clara Sipprell, Pictorial Photographer. Fort Worth, Texas: Amon Carter Museum, 1990.
Kessler, Pamela. "Clara Sipprell: A Portraitist in Soft Focus." The Washington Post 30 May 1986: 43.
Khrabroff, Irina. "The Art of Clara Sipprell." The Mentor (Aug 1926): 23-29.
Kreisel, Martha. American Women Photographers: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Lehmann, Henry. "From the Outside Looking in; CCA Exhibition Four Photographers Visit Quebec shows Province is More - and Less - Than we See." The Gazette (Montreal) 15 Jul. 1995: 6.
McCabe, Mary Kennedy. Clara Sipprell: Pictorial Photographer. Fort Worth, Texas: Amon Carter Museum, 1990.
Peterson, Christian. After the Photo-Secession: American Pictorial Photography, 1910-1955. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1997.
Rosenblum, Naomi. A History of Women Photographers. New York, New York: Abbeville Press, 2000.
Thornton, Gene. "Photography View: A Romantic of the 20's and 30's." New York Times 11 May 1980: 31.

Writings by
Sipprell, Clara. "The Moscow Art Theater in 1925." The Courier (Jan 1971): 19-31.
Sipprell, Clara. Intro by Elizabeth Gray Vining. Moment of Light: Photographs of Clara Sipprell. New York, New York: The John Day Company, 1966.

Search by: